Saturday, May 31, 2014

Mennonite Relief Sale

 Quilt Auction

The Mennonite Relief Committee (MCC) puts on a party the last weekend of May. Proceeds from the event help raise funds for hunger, poverty and natural disaster worldwide.
We headed to New Hamburg for the festivities.


Not only did we get to hear the auctioneers 'sing' as O tells us, we enjoyed watching the process of kettle-corn-making (and eating!)...

...and "Grandpa's Homemade Ice Cream.

There were tons of food tents to fuel up for the day, as well as a section for kids involving face-painting and bouncy castle.
And a tent introducing us to the Ten Thousand Villages project

Vegan Bites: Raw Brownies

We took a page from Oh She Glows Raw Brownies and catered them to our food sensitivities.
The use of nuts in raw or vegan recipes is common as they're high in protein and fats.
Tricky when you have allergies:(
  • 1 cup raw walnut pieces (we subbed in ground flax)
  • 1/2 cup hulled hemp seeds
  • 1.5 cups pitted Medjool dates* (approx. 275g)
  • 1/2 cup raw cacao powder or dutch-processed cocoa powder (we avioded caffeine by using carob)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon pink Himalayan salt or fine grain sea salt
  • heaping 2 tablespoons raw cacao nibs (omitted due to caffeine)
  • heaping 1/4 cup raw walnut pieces (omitted due to allergy)

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Vegan Bites: Morrocan Veggie Burgers

 Even the carnivore will eat them!

I do love to cook (vegan food). but we're juggling several palettes in our home.
Salad, soup, sandwiches and snacks are the staples in our house and more often than not, snacks trump all! The babes are still small and unless happy to help out, it's a pot of lentil soup on the stove and salad, sandwiches and snacks to cover the bases.

My beloved friend, Miss A has been hard at work cooking up vegan meals at her house Stateside.
She set me up with two sites:
Oh She Glows
...and Mouthwatering Vegan
I vowed to try a new recipe today from Oh She Glows.
Even the beef farmer hubby ate four patties!

And here is O measuring in her cooking attire of choice for today; a poncho!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014


...and hopin'

I love these pictures.
Since moving back to Canada, O has discovered (amoung many new nature items) dandelions.
And like most kids I know, treats them with the love any flower would deserve, as the rest of the world tries to remove them from their landscape.
O will jump straight out of the moving wagon to pull the biggest 'wish' from someone's lawn and close her eyes tight before spreading it's seeds all over the city!

Print-Making: Styrofoam Trays

Print Result

After attending the Print-making fair, we took a turn at our own simple prints using Styrofoam trays and screwdrivers. I gave O several screwdrivers and she used them to make designs in the foam.

Foam Print

Then we painted on printing ink, flipped the foam onto paper and transferred the image.

Ink Prints

There are various other tools you can use for print-making. One of the most popular for  school-aged children are potato-prints. You could easily scour the fridge, backyard or garden for other variations.

Missing Shanghai: Dou Sha Bao

Dou Sha Bao

O's favourite food is what she calls 'mantao', which is actually a plain steamed rice bun.
But the one she likes best has red bean filling and is referred to as Dou (bean) Sha Bao (bun/bag).
The week before we left Shanghai, I was letting her fill up on these as I knew it would be three years before we headed East again.
Fortunately, the Asian groceteria in Kitchener stocks a frozen bean bun you can steam at home.

O says they're not quite the same as the fresh version in Shanghai, but better than Hangzhou's version!

Hideaway: Before & After...con't



Omit some shelving and linoleum floor....add a pop of colour, hardwood and trim and you wouldn't even guess this is the same boring closet it started as.
The Hideaway is the first thing you see when you walk in the front door. We have further plans to 'hide' it with a mini door and pantry, but for now, it's a fabulous miniature retreat for the play kitchen fun. We included a woven rug and a set of 4 IKEA mirrors we had framed for pennies.

Mirrors hung at toddler height

Since our walls are wanky, the grueling job of making straight floorboards fit snug, was left to my husband....and O!

Lovely Lilacs

Duck Walk

Mrs. Duck

I ran into Mrs. Duck waddling around our street yesterday in the early morning hours.
so the whole family came out to visit her.

It seems Mr. Duck was flying solo over at the park!
Marital troubles.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Grassy Ass

Grass Hugger

Daddy bought a reel mower as suggested by mommy.
It took him two days to cut our urban lawn.
Grassy Ass, Daddy:)

Daddy & me

 Sometimes... takes a long time... be exactly where you are.

Print-Making Fair

 Tiny Printing Press

I love art.
I love creative people being true to their creative roots.
When we do the things we enjoy most...we're living. 

Art spaces make me happy.
After an afternoon of weeding gardens (what makes my hubby happy), it was my turn.
We took our petit ones to the Cambridge Print-Making Fair, put on by the Riverside Print Group in the former Silk Mill, now dubbed Design At Riverside.

 Old Silk Mill

It's situated beside this gorgeous waterway in downtown Cambridge.


Not only were the members of the Cambridge guild present to showcase their talents, they invited several other print-makers from Winnipeg, Victoria and Toronto. The gallery hosted each artist with their work and an open house to the studio around back.
Look at these printing presses!!!
Be still my heart!
We got to learn about the materials (copperplate, zinc. lino and plexiglass) and etching process, see samples of works-in-progress and O had a swing at the tiniest of three presses.

Though everyone had unique pieces, Gideon Naf of Toronto stole the show.
Check out this talent!
He tampers with Letterpress as well, which is a big dream of mine!

View more of the talented amoung us!

Vegan Bites: Mango Gazpacho

Summer Sips

I recently became aquainted with recipes from Raw Foodie, Ani Phyo. 
Little did I know, she is a big hit in the US. I have read many a raw food recipe, but her's have a gourmet twist that proves uber challenging in the world of raw.

She had a recipe for Mango Gazpacho (liquid salad or cold soup) that we thought would work well post market run. We omitted the orange and pineapple juice which was a mistake in hindsight, since ripe mangoes made the soup more like a smoothie. Yummy nonetheless!

Our version of Ani's Gazpacho
~2cups ripe mango
~2 cups ripe honeydew melon
~1 T fresh ginger juice
~half lemon, juiced
~spigs of mint
Blend well and serve cold.

Essentially these would make fancy summer popsicles if frozen!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Vegan Bites: Sprouting

 Seed Soakin'


 (Nut Milk) Bagging

 Observe & Record

Sprouting is a fantastic hands-on science & nutrition lesson.
It involves sorting (culling), soaking and sprouting 'tails' on seeds. grains, beans and pulses.
It encompasses the nature of Raw Living: to eat plant life in their most nutritious state.
Since leaves are not involved in the process, sunlight (photosynthesis) is unnecessary. 
But to keep your sprouts healthy (alive and mold-free), they require regular moisture and ventilation, hence the Nut Milk or Hemp bag or mesh-covered mason jars used for sprouting.

Seeds, grains, beans and pulses must be soaked, generally overnight but a few require as little as a couple of hours. "Sprout People" have a fabulous reference page for guidance.

Lentil Tails

Gypsy Rose

 Bells on her Toes

Hey, has anybody seen my Sweet Gypsy Rose
Here's her picture when she was my Sweet Mary Jo
Now she's got rings on her fingers and bell's on her toe's
Say has anybody seen my sweet Gypsy Rose.
~Tony Orlando & Dawn

Baby C was loving up the misc musical instruments box and particularly intrigued with bells on her toes!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Vegan Bites: Lemony Kale Salad


When we're using peppers to prep food, O always asks for a 'bracelet' made from pepper rings.
When we made Lemony Kale salad, I was able to cut some number 3's from the pepper butt's!
How appropriate! Except O tells everyone she is nine!

Lemony Kale salad was born from a trip to the Kitcheners Farmers Market where we picked up loads of veggie and a 'mystery herb'. The vendor's staff couldn't tell us what the lemony herb was, except that it was organic. It turns out it was Lemon Balm and absolutely amazing fresh in salad.
Memories of Thailand!

Lemony Kale Salad

Lemony Kale Salad
~1 bunch each purple & green kale
~1 carrot julienned
Steam lightly and drain water.
~1 bunch fresh lemon balm, torn
~1 pint fresh blueberries
~1 each red, orange and yellow pepper, julienned
~1/2 small purple onion, sliced thinly
~2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
~1 lemon, juiced
~2-4 T flax oil
~1-2 t salt
~pinch pepper

May 2-4

 Happy Birthday

On sunny Sunday night, Daddy announced he had a treat for us in the backyard.
It was our first May 2-4 fireworks in our new nest.
O loves sparklers and quickly had two in hand while singing "Happy birthday to Frampa!" who happens to be celebrating 60 in a few days.
Not Queen Victoria.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Luggage Living: Industrial Bedroom

The Master 
(with previous owners furniture & light fixture)

Since about February, we have been living out of our luggages.
Prepping for the move from Shanghai, we threw in the clothes that we thought we would need over the next 3 months and started packing the rest.

Then we arrived to our closet-less Canadian bedroom.
I searched for an old wooden ladder on Kijiji with no luck.
We thought maybe a Garden Centre or decor shop would sell bamboo ladders.
Still no luck.
So hubby buckled down and made a custom ladder and the results are fantastic!
Not cheap! But fantastic!
 Happy Hubby (thrilled wife!)

We bought two 10 foot hardwood 4x4's and measured out five and a half feet length.
We agreed that we would use two rungs each for shirts and pants.
Our wooden hangers measure 16" across and we would need to hang from every other rung so the hangers would not cross over. Totaling 7 rungs spaced 8 and 1/4 " apart.

We originally bought 3/4" dowel which looked sad up against the giant 4x4 beams.
So we returned for the 1 and 1/4" dowel.
Hubby bore holes 3/4 of the way through and screwed the dowel securely from the outer beam.
Sisel rope was strong enough and pulled off the rustic-industrial look with ease.

 Open closet

We will stain the ladder to match the darker wood dresser..eventually.
It was nice to finally hang our clothes up, so staining will have to wait!